Nejla chatted to Patrick Sheehy, Soncha Durham and Paul Flannery of Irish band Walking On Cars ahead of their sellout KOKO show. It’s already been a great year for the band, having released their long awaited debut album and playing some of their biggest gigs yet. They talked about handmade fan gifts, the motivation of failure and flying high creatively.
Selling out KOKO is quite a big deal, how do you feel about having been able to do that?
Soncha: It’s pretty amazing, we just saw the actual stage and venue for the first time a few minutes ago and it’s spectacular. I actually can’t wait to play there.
Patrick: We had heard that it is awesome, but now we know it’s awesome.
What was your favourite gig of all of the shows that you have played so far?
Patrick: I want to go back to that Electric Picnic gig.
Paul: Yes, that was great, my favourite one was at Independence Music Festival in Cork. We were just starting out and we didn’t know if there were going to be ten people there or maybe a hundred and fifty. There were a few technical difficulties, so we couldn’t start for ten or fifteen minutes, so we were late and then there were two thousand people there.
Your debut album came out quite recently, how does it feel to finally have achieved that, what were the responses so far?
Patrick: It’s been a long time, we’ve been writing songs for four and a half or five years now, so to finally get out there was a huge deal for us. We had it ready a year ago but because we didn’t have the fan base elsewhere, apart from Ireland, we had to hold off and gather a fan base elsewhere. Our Irish fans have been kind of annoyed with us because it took so long.
Soncha: The responses so far were really good we’re just delighted.
Patrick: It’s going better than we’ve ever imagined.
One song from the album that particularly stood out to me is ‘Flying High Falling Low’, can you tell me a little bit about the back story?
Patrick: We were a band for about a year and a half or two years and at this stage maybe one or two of us were working part-time jobs but were on the verge of leaving them to focus on the band, so we were completely broke. And I remember around Christmas my brother rang me and ask if I wanted to pay 50€ for our Mum’s Christmas present and I couldn’t because I didn’t have the money. Financially we were in a really bad place, but creatively we were in a really good place.
Is it stressful sometimes to have to go on stage and do a show?
Patrick: It can be, but to be honest 90% of the time it is totally fine.
Soncha: The show is the easiest part.
Paul: You can be really tired and at a low point and know you have a show in 45 minutes, and then in 45 minutes’ time you are going to be at a really high point. No matter how low and shitty you are feeling, five minutes before the show you are going to feel above average again.
You have quite a big fan base in Ireland, have you had any crazy experiences with fans so far?
Patrick: We got rosary beads as a present once.
Paul: Yeah we got a whole lot of holy paraphernalia at one point.
Soncha: Paul got this birthday card with drawings of us and it was totally awesome.
Paul: Another girl has made dolls of us, she knitted dolls, I think we are going to get them in Liverpool or Glasgow. It is nice that people make things, it is so personal.
Do you have any musician that you would call an inspiration, either as a band or individually?
Soncha: I love Nils Frahm, he is a German composer who does all this electronic stuff using tape delay and old vintage synths. And listening to that makes me kind of want to expand my sound further.
Paul: Failure is my biggest motivator. It’s behind me. You never run faster than when you have to run away from something.
Patrick: Mine would be Bell X1 they are an Irish band that I saw when I was 17 and I just fell in love with them. Their lyricist is really quirky and weird and I like his approach. His name is Paul Noonan and I think he is awesome.